EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 8, 2014

Inaction on driver's licenses threatens ID use

Massachusetts remains one of 12 states not in compliance with the law


Licenses from the states that are in compliance will include a star to show security inspectors that the bearer has proven U.S. citizenship or is in the country legally.

“The reason for this law is 18-of-the-19 9/11 terrorists collectively had 30 state-issued driver’s licenses that they used to gain access to the instruments they used to commit their terrorists acts.” Tarr said.

Last March, Tarr and other Massachusetts Republicans wrote a letter to Patrick urging the governor to bring the state within compliance of the law.

“We’ve had no response,” Tarr said. “We have a right to know from the (Patrick) administration whether it’s going to do what it takes to come into compliance or are we going to continue to be an outlier and, if so, is the administration making serious attempts to challenge the law. The point remains that we’re still going to be an outlier in terms of the recognized integrity of our driver’s licenses.”

Tarr said the governor must move quickly to clarify the matter.

“It’s a matter of public safety,” Tarr said. “It’s a matter of convenience and it’s a matter of Massachusetts citizens being recognized in the same way that citizens in the rest of the country will be after April.”

Patrick’s office passed along a request for comment to Registrar of Motor Vehicles Celia J. Blue, who released a statement saying only that the Registry of Motor Vehicles is “in an active dialogue with its partners at the Department of Homeland Security” and is working to “address their outstanding concerns.”

Enforcement of the law — known as the Real ID Law — initially was set to begin in 2008 and the Department of Homeland Security delayed enforcement on four separate occasions.

Previously, officials in Massachusetts and other non-compliant states said they have resisted incorporating the law’s measures on the grounds of privacy, expense and states’ rights.

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